Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Support your own school

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2015 | 3:00 AM
Supporters clad in Calabar High and Kingston College colours at the GraceKennedy ISSA Boys and Girls' Championships at the National Stadium.
Supporters clad in Calabar High and Kingston College colours at the GraceKennedy ISSA Boys and Girls' Championships at the National Stadium.
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I have been shocked over the past week by the reality that the 'Kingston College (KC) and Calabar girls' fraternity in Jamaica is so vigilant, widespread, and active.

Actually, it's been a rude awakening for me, borne out of the toxic, emotional, and irrational responses to my position taken in last week's column.

The harsh and dismissive vitriol that came my way - both in person and on social and traditional media - from those who were obviously offended might have been overwhelming for someone more faint of heart.

After all, I was simply recommending that students and past students, especially of the respective girls' schools, should support their own schools at Champs instead of being 'groupies' and 'wagonists' who support and cheer for the 'hype schools' such as KC and Calabar, which they obviously never attended.

FLIMSY EXPLANATIONS

Outside of a failure to grasp the simplicity of the principle in what was written, the explanations posited in defence of this perennial practice were as flimsy as they were predictable. From the scratched record that their brothers, cousins, sons, neighbours, boyfriends, ex boyfriends, husbands, and ex-husbands were once students of KC and/or Calabar, to the more emotional and irrational outbursts, which ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, I was labelled a hater who was jealous of the support these schools were getting and was even told that my position represented a dictatorial tendency in that I am seeking to tell people which school they should support at Champs.

The one that copped the imbecility award, though, was the frenzied gentleman who suggested that I was advocating a separation of the sexes. How desperate and half-witted can one get?

There were also some laughable attempts at drawing a parallel between students from one school supporting another school, while both schools are simultaneously participating at Champs to Jamaicans supporting their favourite teams in the English Premier League.

The thoughtlessness in that analogy points to the inability to understand the not-so-subtle difference in Jamaicans supporting Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsena,l or Liverpool in the EPL in the context of Jamaicans having no personal teams in the EPL, with the obvious difference being that almost all Jamaicans are either students or past students of one or more of all the schools competing at Champs. Therefore, no EPL team is connected to the average Jamaican in the way we are all connected to our high schools.

NO SUBSTANCE

I have, to date, heard nothing of substance being squealed by the 'groupies' and the 'wagonists' that would lead me to change my position.

The notion of 'supporting our own' is apparently becoming more and more foreign to the Jamaican psyche, and that is the tender nerve that has been rattled by the coming to the fore of this issue.

What needs to be appreciated by all is how this practice of betrayal feels from the other side of the fence - when a young athlete goes out to represent his or her non-traditional Champs school and the students and past students of that school seem too ashamed to be identified with their own school, as manifested in their lack of visible and vocal support.

This same young athlete must now reconcile the sight of his or her own schoolmates being fully clad in the colours and waving the flag of another competing school.

I maintain that every single athlete from every single one of the over 100 schools participating at Champs deserves the support of at least his fellow students and past students.

I remain resolute in my belief that it is disloyal for students and past students of a school competing at Champs to be supporting and cheering for other schools competing at the same event.

If people refuse to see or understand the principle in that position, so be it!

I am willing to take a bet, though, that the 'groupies' and 'wagonists' led by the KC and Calabar girls will be out in their numbers over the next five days to continue the annual ritual of selling out their own schools for a space on the KC and Calabar bandwagon.

More than likely, these same 'KC and Calabar girls' will float along with the wind and transform into JC and StGC girls when the Manning Cup season comes around.